Pupils: Absenteeism

Department for Education written question – answered on 2nd March 2021.

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Photo of Lloyd Russell-Moyle Lloyd Russell-Moyle Labour/Co-operative, Brighton, Kemptown

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of suspending fines for non-attendance of enrolled students in schools where parents or students have medical reasons such as clinically vulnerable or for anxiety reasons until at least 29 March 2021.

Photo of Nick Gibb Nick Gibb Minister of State (Education)

School attendance will be mandatory from 8 March 2021 and all the usual rules apply. It is important that children attend school for their education, well-being and long term development. We have asked schools to implement a range of protective measures to ensure they are as safe as possible.

We know from growing evidence that many children identified at the start of the COVID-19 outbreak as clinically extremely vulnerable are not at increased risk of serious outcomes from COVID-19 and children are gradually being removed from the shielding patient list as appropriate, following review with a clinician. Pupils who have been confirmed as clinically extremely vulnerable are advised not to attend school while shielding advice applies nationally.

Where parents have concerns about their child’s attendance at school, we ask that they discuss their concerns with the school and the protective measures that have been put in place to reduce the risk.

Where pupils are not able to attend school, as they are following clinical or public health advice related to COVID-19, the absence will not be penalised.

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